What factors affect your choice of fitness activity?
Factors Influencing the Selection of Fitness Exercise Programs
Individual characteristics play a crucial role in determining the selection of fitness exercise programs. Different individuals have diverse factors such as age, gender, work or study lifestyle, physical function, health status, exercise background and ability, economic conditions, and personal interests. Therefore, it is important to consider these factors when choosing fitness exercise programs.
1.1 Age and Gender
Age and gender are key factors to consider when selecting fitness exercise programs. Human bodies undergo a gradual process of organ system development, stability, and decline after birth. Generally, in childhood and adolescence, individuals should focus on exercises that enhance various physical functions. In adulthood, the emphasis is on maintaining overall physical function and preventing premature degeneration. In older adults, exercises that slow down the decline of physical functions are essential. Moreover, gender differences exist in physical function after entering puberty, and women have specific physiological changes such as menstrual cycles and pregnancy, which require special considerations in fitness exercise selection. For detailed information on fitness exercise selection for different age and gender groups, please refer to Chapter 5.
1.2 Health Condition
Health conditions can be categorized into four situations regarding fitness exercise program selection:
(1) Healthy individuals with a good self-perceived health status: There are minimal restrictions on exercise selection, and various types of fitness exercise programs are suitable.
(2) Healthy individuals with an average or poor self-perceived health status (sub-healthy status): The selection of fitness exercise programs is primarily aimed at improving health conditions. Aerobic exercises should be the main focus, supplemented by strength training, endurance exercises, and flexibility training to enhance physical fitness.
(3) Individuals with chronic diseases: These individuals have been diagnosed with one or more chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes. The selection of fitness exercise programs should be based on the specific conditions of the diseases. Please refer to Chapter 6 for fitness exercise program selection for different chronic disease populations.
(4) Individuals in a sick state or experiencing exacerbations of chronic diseases: In such cases, individuals should follow the advice of their doctors and engage in simple physical activities within their capabilities.
1.3 Exercise Background and Ability
Exercise background and ability refer to the knowledge, techniques, skills, and physical fitness required for participating in fitness exercise programs. Some programs have specific requirements for technical skills and physical fitness, such as various ball sports like basketball, volleyball, table tennis, and badminton, as well as activities like skiing and ice skating. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a preliminary assessment of exercise background and ability, including evaluating proficiency in certain sports or foundational skills, as well as physical fitness (endurance). If the assessment results are subpar, it is recommended to start with simple aerobic exercises (walking, cycling) to establish a habit of regular exercise. Then gradually learn new exercise techniques and improve physical fitness to expand the range of fitness exercise program options. If the assessment results are satisfactory, individuals can purposefully select fitness exercise programs based on personal interests, fitness goals, and preferences. This approach not only increases the enjoyment of exercise but also prevents interruptions in physical activity.
1.4 Personal Interests
Interest in fitness exercise, like any other interest, requires cultivation. Being interested in one or more fitness exercise programs is essential to maintain a sustainable fitness routine. Some individuals prefer solitary exercise programs, while others enjoy multi-person or group activities. Some prefer challenging sports, while others prefer relaxed exercises. Interest is the best teacher and the key to cultivating self-discipline. The popularity of activities such as marathons and square dancing reflects the influence of personal interests on fitness exercise selection. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals to cultivate interests in one or more fitness exercise programs based on their own personality traits. In general, during childhood, the main focus should be on cultivating interest in exercise and developing coordination and flexibility. Parents can engage their children, who have just started walking or running, in various games to establish a foundation for future physical activity. During adolescence, the main task is the comprehensive development of physical fitness. Teenagers should learn at least two sports skills (besides basic skills such as walking and running), discover their own interests and preferences, and find fitness exercise programs they can continue to engage in.
1.5 Other Factors
(1) Occupational Characteristics: Occupational activities vary greatly. For example, civil servants and employees in public institutions often have desk jobs with less physical activity and long periods of sitting. In contrast, industrial and service industry workers often need to stand for long periods, involving more physical activity. Therefore, individuals with sedentary occupations should allocate time for moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to mitigate the hazards of prolonged sitting and maintain or improve basic physiological functions. Individuals with physically demanding occupations should choose more relaxed and rhythmic fitness exercise programs, such as tai chi, table tennis, and square dancing, to effectively alleviate work-related physical fatigue and promote recovery.
(2) Economic Conditions: Economic conditions may influence fitness exercise program selection, particularly regarding the costs of equipment and facility rentals for certain sports (e.g., golf course fees, tennis racket, and ball purchases). Therefore, individuals should consider their economic conditions when selecting fitness exercise programs. It is important to recognize that investing in fitness exercise is the best investment in health, and appropriate expenditure sometimes helps develop a habit of regular exercise. For example, many fitness enthusiasts started their exercise routines after purchasing fitness memberships.
(3) Family Situation: The family situation can influence fitness exercise program selection, including the level of family responsibilities, the amount of household chores undertaken, and the shared interests and mutual support among family members. Generally, individuals with significant family responsibilities and heavy household chores should choose flexible fitness exercise programs. Conversely, those with fewer family responsibilities can opt for more regular exercise programs. Selecting fitness exercise programs that family members have shared interests in can facilitate better mutual support.
(4) Availability of Guidance or Companions: Some sports require technical expertise and companions to participate, such as basketball, volleyball, badminton, and table tennis. If there is no guidance or companionship available, these programs may not be suitable as fitness exercise programs.
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